Surely your home should be based on your needs, I mean, if you’re a Compass Termite from Northern Australia, you will want your nest to be orientated north-south. No one knows why you’d want that, but you would and that’s all that matters. Then again, say if you are a Baya Weaver, you’d be out collecting grass to ensure you can weave a beautiful home high in the trees. It all comes down to what you want and need.
You see, your needs matter. In fact when it comes to wild animals everything should be taken into consideration. The VogelKop Bowerbird for instance, builds an impressive looking hut to sort berries neatly into piles. However, when it is time for children the VogelKop Bowerbird abandons it, now deemed unfit for purpose (the hut, not the children).
Quite often in the modern world though, homes, houses, cities and the environments we build are not necessarily conducive to our needs – more so than to make more money or someone else. So lets say in the unlikely event that you are reading this and you are not a bird, or a termite*, and that you are just mentally ill – What home do you build then?
This is in an interesting one, not least because it infers a whole load of questions about your immediate environment and the local environment. How much extra space do you need? How much light do you need? How big are your windows? What decor do you need? Should you live in the country? Should you live in a community? Should you live in a house that is sold as detached but only by 20 cm? Should you live in a house that is sold as 3 bedrooms but two them are just about small enough to almost sit down in?
Should you find sticks and build a bowerbird hut? Should you sell everything you own and go live in the wild (à la Alexander Supertramp)?
For me, these questions have always been difficult to answer and quite often irrelevant to my mental health. I have lived in many big cities (Los Angeles, London, Beijing, Vienna) as well as in small towns (Osnabruck, Tampere), and now in the beautiful countryside of Ireland. The mental issues never disappeared though, they just adapted to the environment – often better than I did.
Plus I learned that the culture is just as important as infrastructure. Beijing for instance is one of the most peaceful cities I’ve ever been to, after 10pm. Walking around after 10pm I felt as free and relaxed as I have in the rolling English countryside. Contrast this to London for instance, somewhere that never sleeps, and if you have the audacity to sleep, your best friend will steal your job only for a passerby to then wake you up and steal your wallet as they squeeze in next to you on an overcrowded bus. A one way ticket to great mental health? I think not.
So I don’t know exactly what is conducive to my mental health, but I’ve so far narrowed it down to; living in the countryside where it is peaceful, living next to natural beauty and having space to grow creatively.
And that is pretty much what we found today when my, now ex, girlfriend and I went to look at an old school that is for sale. It is a beautiful small school in the country, on the side of a small hill overlooking the Irish countryside. It has everything I could hope, except it could all slip away as neither my, now ex, girlfriend nor I have managed to find a job yet. Oh well, at least mental health isn’t important or anything. I think it’s about time I just morphed into a VogelKop Bowerbird and built a hut to live in.
*This still includes Nigel Farage.
P.S I would just like to say thank you and sorry to everyone who has emailed me or left comments lately. It is marvellous and I love receiving them, I just haven’t had the motivation to reply or interact lately. It will return and it is appreciated though!
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